Visit the Cute Shruby Succulent ‘Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi’

This plant is a native of Madagascar, but it is now available worldwide. The plant goes by the common name Lavender Scallops. The species’ name was given in honor of Boris Fedtschenko, a botanist who lived between 1873 and 1947. Also, the plant has other common names, including Kalanchoe Stonecrop, Grey Sedum, and South American Air Plant. The plant has other scientific names, including Bryophyllum fedtschenkoi and Kalanchoe fedschenkoi variegate isalensis. The plant belongs to the Kalanchoeae tribe, the Crassulaceae family, and the Sedoideae subfamily.

Morphological Characteristics Of Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi

Stem

This is a small plant that grows to one foot in height. The stem has a rounded appearance, and it is smooth. It has a relaxed gait and has some scars on the lower part where the leaves drop off once attached. The stem can bend and run perpendicular to the ground. When it touches the ground, the point where it touches the ground develops roots. This plant is one of the most prolific in the natural propagation of all the plants in this genus. The stems and branches that produce roots in the manner described above provide you with a way to quickly propagate this beautiful plant.

Leaves

This plant is succulent, so as would be expected, its leaves are fleshy. They are also smooth, and one can describe their shape as being obovate; this means that the leaf is wider towards the base and narrower on the other end so that the end forms a tip.

The leaf is usually bluish-green, and it has a cream-colored margin that has a pink-purple tint. Also, the leaf has some curves around the margins, a situation that is technically described as scalloping. These leaves typically point upwards, and they are closely packed together. This structure gives the plant a compact appearance.

This combination of these attributes gives the leaves a unique appearance that makes them the most attractive aspect of the plant.

Flowers

The plant’s flowers are tubular, and they droop downwards from the woody spines from which they grow. These spikes on which the flowers attach grow in every flowering season. Each of the flower’s pink is usually framed with four arrange lobes. These lobes have a rounded shape. The plant blooms in summer, and the flowers accentuate its appearance, but they are not the main attraction.

Toxicity

This plant contains bufadienolides, and it is therefore toxic to cats. Bufadienolide is a cardiac toxin that causes abnormal heart rate and rhythm. An affected cat will also show signs of gastrointestinal distress such as stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea. This plant is, however, not toxic to humans. Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi is a small plant that you will primarily grow indoors, be careful to keep it away from your cats. Call a vet if your cat ingests the plant.

Uses

Besides its use for decoration, the roots of this plant have been used to treat conditions caused by parasitic worms. They also expel such worms from their victims’ bodies.

Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi Care

The care of this plant is generally the same as other plants in this genus. Their growth requirements are more or less the same.

Lighting

This succulent prefers full sun as much as possible. The plant has the adaptation to withstand intense ultraviolet rays. It needs more sun in summer, which is its growing and flowering season. Flowering is one of the most energy-intensive activities in the plant. Much sun allows for the photosynthesis necessary for the plant to flower effectively and grow optimally within the season.

You can grow this plant in a succulent or Mediterranean garden or indoors as a decorative plant. It is okay with full sunlight and makes your work relatively easy when positioning the plant. You don’t have to worry about shielding it from the sun. If, on the other hand, you have placed the plant indoors, you will need to position it strategically next to a window so that it can soak in as much direct sunlight as possible.

Place the plant within one foot of the window or on a balcony where it can get at least six hours of direct sunlight in summer.

If you suspect your plant isn’t getting sufficient sunlight indoors, move it outside in summer for it to enjoy more intense sunlight once in a while.

Temperature

Sunlight is not the only thing that determines the location of your plant. Temperature is also an essential factor, especially in the United States, where winters can get cold. This is because this succulent is not cold-hardy. It can tolerate temperatures of up to -4oC but only for short. Therefore, if you live in an area where temperatures get to this range for long periods, you are better off keeping the plant entirely indoors. Also, you can decide to keep the plant indoors permanently in such an environment.

Soil

Like other succulents, this plant does well in well-draining soil. Waterlogged soil can quickly kill it. It denies the roots oxygen, causing them to rot. If you don’t remedy root rot quickly, it can easily cause your plant to dry up. So which is the best soil for Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi?

If you are going for a commercial pottage, buy cactus or succulent soil in nurseries or other related shops. That soil is already well-draining, but you will need to make it even easier to drain by adding fifty to seventy percent grit. Grit could be coarse sand, perlite, or pumice. You can even improvise by grinding coconut shells and mixing them with the soil. The soil should be moist most of the time for the benefit of the plant, but it shouldn’t be soaking wet either. The use of commercial pottage mix is best when growing your plant in a pot.

If you grow the plant outdoors in a Mediterranean garden or as a hedge, you must ensure the soil is well-draining. The plant can handle rock ground, so that should not be a problem. If the soil in your area has more clay than grit, you can introduce sand in the planting holes to allow your water to drain quickly. Also, it may be necessary for you to create French drains to allow any excess water to run off from the roots.

The Pot

If you are planting your Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi in a pot, you will need to consider the type of pot you use carefully. The pot is critical in ensuring your soil will be well-drained. Whether it is made of metal, porcelain, stone, wood, or any other material, it should have several draining holes at the bottom.

Drainage holes are critical because no matter how well-draining the soil is, the water that gets into the soil needs to get out to avoid waterlogging. Else the water would pass through the soil only to sit at the bottom of the pot. You can also use a breathable pot to enhance the evaporation of water. Unglazed terracotta pots are the best option for growing these succulents.

Repotting Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi

You can repot the plant if it grows too big for the pot. Considering this, you don’t need to repot often because the plant grows slowly. The other reason you may want to repot is if the soil is no longer draining as effectively. It is possible for your substrate’s particles that previously created spaces to allow water through to get broken down with time so that the water doesn’t flow as effectively. This is a good enough reason to repot to save your plant from root rot.

Watering Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi

Like most other succulents, this plant is drought resistant. However, watering and the type of soil you use are probably the two most important considerations for the plant. The most important diseases that affect this plant are caused by overwatering. These include root rot and fungal infections on the leaves.

The best way to avoid overwatering or under-watering is watering only when the plant needs it. Generally, the plant requires little water, but you will need to water it more often in hotter seasons than in colder ones due to evaporation.

The ease with which you manage this aspect of care for your plant will largely be determined by the type of soil you have grown. Well-draining soil will make your watering immeasurably easier to maintain.

How to know when you should water your plant

How do you know your plant requires to be watered? The topsoil dryness test is always an effective method of knowing whether your plant requires some watering. Insert a finger into the plant’s soil or potting mix to feel whether or not the top two inches of the soil is dry. Your soil needs more water since moisture from the previous drink has dried up.

When you notice the bottom leaves of the plant start to wrinkle and slightly wilt when the plant is severely dehydrated, it needs urgent watering.

Best way to water Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi

The best method to water Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi is the soak and dry method. The soak-and-dry method is where you dip the plant’s pot into a tub of water and allow the soil to soak in the water for at least half an hour. After removing the plant, let the excess moisture drain from the drainage holes at the bottom of the container for another half an hour. Water again when the soil is dry.  

It isn’t easy to give a definite watering schedule even when you break the plant’s life in seasons. This is because environmental conditions are significant in how well the soil can retain water. Ambient temperature, for example, determines how fast water in the soil evaporates. Even in the same seasons, this temperature varies from place to place.

Humidity

Kalanchoe will do well under typical humidity in a room. The plant may also survive in relatively dry environments, but too much humidity is harmful to its health. Too much humidity is a challenge because it facilitates the growth of fungi on the leaves.

Feeding Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi

The plant doesn’t need much additional feeding. It is pretty tough, and it can survive on pretty bare soil, especially while in the wild. You might need to give it a little extra food if you are planting it in a pot. This is because the soil in the pot doesn’t get replenishment from the natural cycles. Use organic fertilizer about once every spring and summer. These fertilizers enrich the soil and also increase its capacity to retain moisture in the soil.

Pests, Diseases, and Other Problems

This plant is susceptible to mealybugs, aphids, plant scale, and spider mites. You can protect it by keeping the plant clean and well aired. Removing drying leaves is one way of ensuring protection because these pests like to hide in them.

Always keep the plant healthy. Healthy plants can repel the pests effectively, but hungry plants are usually vulnerable to these pests. Isolate any plant in your Mediterranean garden infested by any pest to keep it from infecting others.

How to get rid of pests & keep Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi healthy

You can take a few measures to cure your Grey sedum of pests. One of the things you can do is rub the infected parts with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Take a piece of cotton wool, dip it into the alcohol, and dab the part of the plant with the said infestation. You can also use chemical pesticides, but it is better to use organic pesticides.

If you notice an infestation, you could apply the following organic pesticides.

  1. Neem oil: Unlike the other pesticides listed below, neem oil is a systemic pesticide. It gets into the plant and poisons it against the bugs so that they don’t survive or reproduce when they attack the plant. Pure Neem Oil is made from the neem plant. Therefore, it is entirely natural and not harmful to humans.
  2. Hot pepper spray: Hot pepper is quite irritating when it gets on your skin and eyes, and it has the same effects on the bugs infesting your succulents. Spray it directly on the affected parts being careful to protect your skin and eyes.
  3. Garlic spray: A concentrated garlic spray can have the same effects on the bugs as pepper spray. You can manufacture the garlic spray by crushing garlic cloves and putting them in hot water. Put just a little hot water so that the end product is concentrated enough to destroy the pests. Remove the garlic residue, put the pesticide in a sprayer, and spray away on the infected parts of the plant.

Always spray a small part of the plant with the pesticide you want to use before spraying on the whole plant. This precaution applies when using contact pesticides, i.e., hot pepper spray and garlic spray. You need to see the plant’s reaction before you spray it all. If the test shows the plant’s reacting adverse effects on the pesticide, you can reduce concentration. Other conditions include discoloration of leaves which is usually a sign of malnutrition.

Pruning and Grooming Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi

The only pruning necessary is removing dry leaves if, by any chance, they haven’t fallen by themselves. The simplicity of grooming is because the plant is a slow grower, and it is unlikely to get too unruly to need regular pruning.

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How to Propagate Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi

You can propagate this plant using stem or leaf cuttings.

Leaf cuttings

Follow the following process:

  1. Cut a healthy, mature leaf from the plant. The best leaves for propagation are always the ones on the lower side of the plant. Make sure they aren’t dried up with age, as some of the leaves in the plant are wont to do as part of the natural growth process.
  2. Allow the leaf to be calloused under a shade for about three or four days. During this season, you should assess the leaf to ensure it doesn’t dry too much. Reduce the hardening time if necessary.  
  3. Put the leaf-cutting in the potting soil. The soil should be suitable for the growth of the succulents according to the characteristics we shall discuss later.
  4. Keep the soil moist but not too wet, as this is the ideal watering condition for the plant.

Stem cuttings

If you are propagating using a cutting, cut it with a clean, sterilized knife from a healthy stem. There should be nodes in the cuttings because rooting happens at the node. Treat your cutting the same way you treat the leaf as described above. Rooting should occur in three to four weeks, after which you can transplant. Check to see if your seedling is established enough to grow on its own before transplanting.

You noticed earlier in the description that the stem is easily bendable. You can bend the stem to the ground and have it contact the soil. Peg the contact point in place to allow for rooting. Cut off the rooted part and pot it.

Final Thought

As a member of the Kalanchoe genus, this plant is not fussy. You can easily take care of it, and it will keep your home beautiful. It is an attractive, compact plant that doesn’t take much space. Remember it is toxic to cats, and keep it away from them.

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Posted in Succulents